CFAR Project Will Recommend Improvements for Home-Based Workplace

CFAR | December 14, 2016 | by Geralyn Magan

A new CFAR research project will study current and future trends in home-based care and its impact on the future workforce.

The LeadingAge Center for Applied Research (CFAR) is working with Global Evaluation & Applied Research Solutions (GEARS) to study current and future trends in home-based care and its impact on the future workforce. Researchers will make recommendations for actions that could strengthen the home care workforce.

The 10-month project is supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A previous ASPE grant helped CFAR and Social and Scientific Systems explore key characteristics of home care workers. From August 2012 through February 2015, researchers examined how home health workers differ in terms of socio-demographic characteristics, compensation, benefits, satisfaction, and retention. They also identified factors influencing a home health worker’s intent to leave a job.

ELEMENTS OF THE ASPE STUDY

For the new study, CFAR will be helping GEARS conduct an environmental scan of current and future trends in home care and the workforce supporting long-term services and supports. The scan will focus on:

  • Developments in home care, including technological advancements.
  • Experiments in health care system transformation and emerging workforce trends.
  • Roles of the home care workforce, and integration of new roles into the existing workforce infrastructure.
  • New technologies that are or could be utilized by home care workers or modified for their use.
  • Effective and efficient use of the existing workforce.

A Technical Advisory Group of experts in the home care field will help researchers analyze the findings of the environment scan and explore how emerging service delivery models and advances in technology might promote improvements in the home care workplace.

A final report to ASPE will include recommendations for planning, policy, and research initiatives that could strengthen the home care field and the workers who provide care within this sector.

“This is a visionary type of project,” says Natasha Bryant, managing director and senior research associate at CFAR. “Our goal is to look into the future and identify some big ideas that support ASPE in its policy and planning activities to address current and future trends in home care, including specific approaches that we might take, or research questions we should be asking.”

BUILDING ON THE PAST, PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE

The current ASPE project aligns with CFAR’s previous, ASPE-supported research and with the center's current work to design and seek funding for a qualitative study to explore best practices in the home care workplace.

“Our previous research with ASPE helped us uncover a host of issues that seem to influence a home care worker’s intent to leave the job,” says Bryant. “But we really don’t understand all of those issues fully, and we want to explore them further. That’s why we were eager to join GEARS on this project. In addition to helping ASPE chart its future work, we expect this study will also inform CFAR’s future qualitative research.”